For many students in California, the start of a new school year is both a time of excitement and dread. Unfortunately, for those who walk or bike to school, children could also face risks of being involved in car accidents as a result of distracted or speeding drivers. A recent study by the American Automobile Association has shed some light on the potential dangers faced by school children while walking or biking to school.

For many drivers, the first days of a new school year require some adjustment. While many streets may be free of pedestrians just days before, more activity can typically be seen once the school year begins. In some cases, there will be a significant increase in pedestrians, especially children. In 2013, over 330 children who were walking were killed. An additional 13,000 were injured.

The AAA study reported that a large portion of accidents involving children occur in the hours following the end of the school day — from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.  While drivers are expected to obey posted speed limits and remain vigilant at all times, it is especially important to do so when schools start again for the year. AAA claims that a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 35 mph is significantly more likely to be killed than those struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph slower.

For a parent, there is nothing worse than the death or serious injury of a child. In addition to coping with emotions following fatal car accidents, grieving family members must also cope with medical and/or funeral expenses. In many cases, California parents are unprepared for these costs. As a result, they turn to the civil court. A successfully presented case may result in an award of damages and could also help ensure that a driver is held responsible for his or her negligent actions.

Source: Mill Valley, CA Patch, “AAA Warns Motorists to be Aware of Influx of Pedestrians in Back to School Season“, Alexander Nguyen, Aug. 19, 2015